School Walkout: ‘Government Is Not A Co-Parent’ Rally At State Capitol Monday

‘Bow to the state or they will take everything from you’

The “Government Is Not A Co-Parent” rally At California’s State Capitol Monday was vast. The “Statewide School Walkout” rally was exactly what it professed it would be: moms, dads, children, grandparents, teachers, and concerned citizens, showed up en masse at the Capitol armed with homemade signs to protest public schools and teachers unions, which pushed to keep schools closed, forced kids into distance learning, and wearing masks all day, and now Gov. Newsom’s mandatory vaccine for children.

“Medical freedom” was/is at the root of the rally. The Globe spoke with parents whose children are otherwise fully vaccinated, but say Gov. Gavin Newsom’s COVID vaccine mandate is unconstitutional and a violation of their medical freedoms.

Speaking at Monday’s rally was Matthew Oliver, owner of House of Oliver wine lounge & restaurant in Roseville, CA. Oliver, a father of five, has protested the business and school lockdowns since the beginning in March 2020. “Welcome to the parent revolution,” Oliver said to loud cheers from the crowd.

“They tried to silence us, and tell us we didn’t matter,” Oliver said. “They tell us our voice doesn’t have power, but it does. Our governor and Legislature need to hear our voice.”

Oliver told the crowd that “now is the time to stand,” otherwise “silence is an endorsement.”

Ponderosa High School teacher Michael Wilkes was put on administrative paid leave after teaching classes while not wearing a mask. Wilkes, a father of three children, has achieved national attention for his stand.

Wilkes said it is important to stand up for individual freedoms and our love of liberty. “They are attempting to divide us over our own children – the tyranny of the powerful over the powerless – bow to the state or they will take everything from you.”

In a recent interview with WCSI, he said he encourages debate in his classes. “He said parents are growing tired of these mandates and pointed to last week’s protest in Sacramento as evidence,” WCSI reported. “The (October 26) protest included parents who lashed out against the Newsom vaccine mandate.”

Wilkes said the district is conducting an investigation and he may lose his job.

At the heart of the protest was Ponderosa high schooler Lexi, who said this all started one day she lowered her mask down below her chin, as many other students had. That went without incident, so she stopped wearing it altogether, and came to school without a mask for one entire week before one of her teachers sent her to the school administrators. Lexi said she walked into the office and none of the administrators were wearing masks. She called them on it, but they told her they only have to wear masks when students are present.

She was given few choices other than to comply with the mask mandate or she could be transferred to online learning. “My education should matter more than a mask,” Lexi said. The administrator told her he agreed, but said he couldn’t do anything without losing his job. Lexi told him to stand up for himself and the students, but fear of losing his job was too great. “It’s okay, I’ll stand up for you too,” Lexi told the administrator at her school. She left Ponderosa High School.

Click here to read full article at the California Globe

California Gas Prices Soar to Record High

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in California reached a record high on Monday.

The statewide average increased to $4.68 a gallon Monday, according to figures from the AAA, Fox 11 reported.

“This new average surpasses the previous record of $4.67 set in Oct, 2012,” the outlet continued:

The average price of regular gasoline in California is $1.27 higher than the current national average of $3.41, according to AAA. The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in Los Angeles County rose seven-tenths of a cent Monday to $4.672, moving within 3.3 cents of the all-time high.

The average price rose 1.4 cents Friday, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service. It is 7.9 cents more than it was one week ago, 20.8 cents more than one month ago and $1.523 higher than one year ago.

In a social media post on Thursday, oil and refined products analyst Patrick De Haan said average gasoline prices in California were at all-time record highs, “beating out both 2012 and 2008 records. $4.68/gal today statewide average”:

Supreme Court Could Legalize Open Carry in California

The Second Amendment “right to keep and bear arms” soon could be restored to California. Time magazine described the issue at hand in hearings before the court at hearings on Nov. 3. The court “majority appeared to question the constitutionality of a century-old provision in New York state that requires people to prove they have a special need for self-protection if they want to carry a concealed handgun outside of their home.”

California imposes similar restrictions on carrying a concealed handgun. If the New York law is ruled unconstitutional, that likely also would blast away California’s similar restrictions. Although the court is unpredictable, so nothing is definite until the final wording is released.

A big problem with such state restrictions on concealed carry is their arbitrary nature toward honest, law-abiding citizens. (Not at issue is whether criminals can carry concealed weapons; bans on that would remain in place.)

In California, county sheriffs decide who can and cannot get a permit. The rules vary greatly. The liberal coastal county sheriffs generally impose tight restrictions, while rural inland sheriffs generally allow anyone who is a law-abiding citizen, and takes a gun safety course, to be granted a permit.

But the restrictions also vary with the sheriff. The late Sandra Hutchens, while sheriff of Orange County from 2008-19, was highly restrictive. But her successor, Don Barnes, ran and won in 2018 on a platform of advancing gun rights. He recently wrote on his personal website, “In my view any law-abiding citizen who seeks a permit has the right to have one issued.” He said that, since he became sheriff, the Orange County Sheriffs’ Department has issued more than 10,000 permits to residents; Orange County’s population is 3.2 million. “Not one person has misused their permit.”

Click here to read the rest of the article at the Epoch Times

How Dirty Are California’s ‘Green’ Policies?

Of all 50 states, it would be difficult to match California’s posturing as a “green” state with the nation’s most stringent environmental policies. Burdensome laws and regulations are imposed by elected officials and bureaucrats who try to outdo each other by burnishing their environmental bona fides. But how much of this posturing is really posing? Worse yet, how many of these policies actually damage the environment?

The pursuit of effective environmental policies requires clear thinking and critical analysis that transcend sound bites and superficial conclusions. Regrettably, that doesn’t happen often in California and here are the most glaring examples.

First on the list is California’s High-Speed Rail Project. This project was justified almost entirely on environmental grounds. A carbon-free rail project (false) that could travel from L.A. to San Francisco in about two hours (false) and would replace thousands of cars on the road (false) sounds great, but sober international transportation experts now doubt the project will ever be completed.

In the meantime, the massive amount of greenhouse gas emissions associated with construction and the destruction of valuable farmland in the Central Valley exposes HSR for the truly environmentally damaging effort that it is.

Second, for some strange reason, California does not count hydroelectric power as a “green” energy source. This makes no sense whatsoever and deters the development of additional projects that are reliable (not dependent on sun or wind) sources of carbon-free energy.

Third, in California, it is accepted as gospel that urban transit is better for the environment than individual automobiles. Whether that is true depends on innumerable factors that make broad pronouncements suspect. Robert Poole of the Reason Foundation is an expert in all matters involving surface transportation and has this to say about transit today: “But what I want to question is the premise that shifting huge sums to mass transit and passenger rail would make America greener. There’s growing evidence that it would not. For example, cars are presumed to be more polluting (both conventional emissions and CO2) than mass transit—but that is no longer so.”

Click here to read the entire article at Whittier Daily News

The High Cost Of Driving In California Is No Accident

How about some gas facts?

In late October, the highest price for gasoline in the country was a “mind-numbing $7.59 a gallon” for regular, $8.50 for premium in Gorda, on California’s central coast.

The average prices for regular, mid-grade, and premium are highest in California, $4.60, $4.78, and $4.90 a gallon, respectively, according to AAA. Prices are rising nationwide, but those numbers are still far in excess of the U.S. average of $3.40 a gallon.

The average gasoline price in Los Angeles had risen for 18 straight days through Oct. 29.

Late October was also when gasoline prices in San Francisco reached an all-time high, passing “the previous record of $4.743 per gallon, set over 3,300 days ago in 2012,” says Gas Buddy.

California shows up as an outlier far out of sync with the rest of the nation in the Gas Buddy price heat map.

Two days before Halloween, “parts of California,” most of them in the northern half, “recorded their highest average gas prices ever,” KTLA reported.

None of this is due to bad luck or unhappy coincidences. Nor can “profiteers” or speculators be blamed for the surge. The high prices are by design. The factors driving prices them are the products of deliberate policymaking:

  • California has the highest motor fuel taxes in the country – 67 cents a gallon, says the Tax Foundation, using American Petroleum Institute data. Second highest are in Illinois, 60 cents a gallon. The national median is about 30 cents a gallon.
  • Due to “big-government energy policies,” California drivers pay a 37% premium for gasoline compared to the national average. Backing off these mandates would have saved drivers $9.6 billion in 2020 over 2019.
  • Carbon cap-and-trade policy adds more than 14 cents a gallon to the cost of gasoline in California.
  • The state’s low carbon fuel standard increases prices 22 to 24 cents per gallon.
  • As requirements of cap-and-trade and the low carbon fuel standard become more demanding, their costs will continue to add up, reaching a range from 89 cents to $2.10 a gallon.

Let’s end with a quiz. Who said: “Somehow, we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe”?

No, it wasn’t a California official. It was Steven Chu, a Berkeley-trained, Nobel-winning physicist who taught at Stanford, and was serving as the Obama White House’s secretary of energy when he made the statement. The words just happen to sound a lot like those a Sacramento lawmaker would string together.

Kerry Jackson is a fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.

This article was originally published by the Pacific Research Institute.

Child Vaccinations Begin in California with Toys and Gifts

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Scavenger hunts and blow-up animals greeted children at some of California’s vaccination sites Wednesday as children aged 5 to 11 got their first COVID-19 shots a day after the federal government approved kid-size doses of the vaccinations.

One enthusiastic 11-year-old summed up his experience in a word: “Amazing!” said 6th grader Raghab Vist. “I’ve been waiting a really long time to get vaccinated.”

Vist and his father, Hemant, who went to a vaccine clinic in San Jose, spoke of all the things they looked forward to doing again — eating in a restaurant, taking a train and traveling to family favorites like Disneyland. “It’s a very important milestone for us,” his father said.

As part of an ambitious plan to offer coronavirus vaccinations to California’s 3.5 million children in that age group, the state intends to offer the vaccines at locations including school clinics, pharmacies, pediatrician offices and county sites, many of which will launch in the coming days. Health officials said they are expecting 1.2 million initial doses of the pediatric vaccine.

Santa Clara County, the home of Silicon Valley where San Jose is located, starting doling out shots early Wednesday, and appointments quickly booked up. The county expects to receive about 55,000 doses this week and will open additional clinics at 80 school sites and send out mobile vaccine teams to low-income neighborhoods.

“We know that a lot of parents are anxious to get their children vaccinated with the holidays coming up,” said Dr. Jennifer Tong, who oversees the county’s mass vaccination program. “We received our shipment of vaccine yesterday, and we didn’t have any good reason to sit on it. So we said, let’s get this show on the road.”

Many of Santa Clara’s county sites were decorated with kid-friendly motifs like animals and included games like scavenger hunts, while others handed out coloring books, prizes and stickers to newly vaccinated young people.

Click here to read the full article at ap.com

California Pension Fund to Award $1.1 Million Record-Breaking Bonus to Investment Chief

CalSTRS is preparing to award a record-breaking $1.1 million bonus to its one of its top executives following the 27.2% investment return the pension funded recorded in 2020-21 financial year.

This proposed bonus, combined with with his pay of $590,000, would mark the highest compensation on record for CalSTRS Chief Investment Officer Christopher Ailman, according to a public pay database kept by the State Controller’s Office.

It also appears to be the first million dollar bonus at either of California’s two major statewide pension funds. Former CalPERS Chief Investment Office Yu Ben Meng earned about $850,000 in performance incentives in 2019.

It won’t be the last.

CalPERS has been considering offering pay incentives that would reward longevity in a chief investment officer. It adopted a plan this spring that would offer up to $2.8 million in salary and incentives for its next chief investment officer if that executive stays at least five years.

Ailman has led the investment office at the California State Teachers’ Retirement System since 2000, overseeing investment strategy for a fund that provides retirement benefits to about 975,000 people.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System and CalSTRS award bonuses to their chief investment officers based on multi-year formulas. The formulas moderate their bonuses in big years like the past one, but also can yield substantial pay incentives in years when the pension funds miss their earnings targets.

Click here to read the full article on the Sacramento Bee

Finding Common Ground in California

In California, environmental regulations have brought infrastructure investment to a standstill. Without expanding energy, water, and transportation infrastructure, it is nearly impossible to build housing, the cost-of-living is punitive, water is rationed and food is overpriced, the overall quality of life is reduced, and money that ought to be paying skilled workers to operate heavy construction equipment instead goes into the pockets of environmentalist lobbyists, bureaucrats, litigators, and activist nonprofits.

Californians nonetheless agree that infrastructure, as it is traditionally defined, needs new investment. Freeways, bridges, railroads, dams, aqueducts, seaports, airports, transmission lines, pipelines; all of this needs to be maintained and upgraded.

But despite agreement on the goal, more than ever, solutions are filtered through the lens of polarizing ideologies. What is today’s definition of infrastructure? Is it physical assets, or something more ephemeral? Do infrastructure priorities have to be established based on restoring race and gender equity, or by concerns about climate change? Should some infrastructure be deliberately allowed to deteriorate, to avoid “induced demand” and the unsustainable consumption that would result?

Debate over these questions has paralyzed California’s politicians. Navigating a pathway out of this paralyzing morass takes more than just compromise, it takes the courage to adhere to controversial premises. Chief among these is to reject the idea that legislated scarcity is the only option to combat climate change. In every critical area of infrastructure there are solutions that can enable a future of sustainable abundance.

For example, Californians can rebuild their energy infrastructure in a manner that doesn’t violate environmentalist principles, but instead balances environmentalist concerns with the interests of its residents. Why aren’t Californians, who in so many ways are the most innovative people in the world, approving and building safe, state-of-the-art nuclear power plants? Why aren’t they developing geothermal power, since California has vast untapped potential in geothermal energy? Why haven’t California’s legislators revived the logging industry they have all but destroyed, and brought back clean power plants fueled by the biomass of commercial forest trimmings?

Californians can also rebuild their water infrastructure by adopting an all-of-the-above approach. They can build massive new off-stream reservoirs to capture storm runoff. Even in dry winters the few storms that do hit California yield surplus water that can be captured instead of allowed to runoff into the Pacific. These off-stream reservoirs could also feature forebays from which, using surplus solar electricity, water could be pumped up into the main reservoir, to then be released back down into the forebay through hydroelectric turbines to generate electricity when solar electric output falters. Why aren’t Californians recycling 100 percent of their urban wastewater? Why aren’t they building desalination plants?

These are solutions that may not be perfectly acceptable to environmentalists, but they’re also not hideous violations of environmentalist values. They should be defended by their proponents without reservations, but also with a willingness to spend extra to mitigate what can be mitigated. Civilization has a footprint, and we can only pick our poison. The solutions favored by environmentalists, such as wind turbines, battery farms, EVs, biofuel plantations, and solar farms, have environmental impacts that are arguably even worse than conventional solutions.

Another potentially polarizing issue – achieving “equity” with infrastructure – doesn’t have to be dismissed by proponents of practical infrastructure investment. If the pipes in Los Angeles public schools are still leaching toxins into the water students would otherwise be drinking, then invest the money and fix the pipes. If inadequate funding for water treatment plants in low income communities in California’s Central Valley mean they are not operating, or cannot expand their operations, then increase the funding. But at the same time don’t lose sight of the fact that if there is more energy, and more water, that will benefit everyone, especially low income households, no matter where they are and no matter what other challenges they may confront.

Finally, it shouldn’t be controversial to restrict discussions of infrastructure to infrastructure, but it is. Here is an area where, once again, establishing the terms of the discussion require adhering to a controversial premise, which is that discussions of “infrastructure” need to be restricted to the traditional definition. Basic infrastructure, offering surplus capacity instead of scarcity in the critical areas of energy, water and transportation, creates the solid foundation upon which all the other amenities of a prosperous and equitable society may flourish.

This article was originally published in the California Policy Center

Inside a Weekly Crime Briefing at the LAPD

In the middle of Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore’s command-level crime briefing Monday, Police Commissioner Dale Bonner — who was sitting in on the closed-door meeting — chimed in with a question.

Bonner was looking at printouts of crime figures and wasn’t sure whether the percentages in red ink reflected increases over 2020, when killings and shootings were already elevated, or 2019, before violence spiked in Los Angeles and cities across the country.

Moore made it clear: The increases — including a 17% rise in homicides — were over the 2020 figures. Compared with 2019, Moore said, the uptick was even starker.

“They’re compounding,” Moore said of city killings. “Homicides are up 17%, and people will say, ‘Well, many other cities are actually higher.’ But when we look over a two-year period, they’re up 49%.”

Each Monday, Moore convenes a small group on the 10th floor of LAPD headquarters downtown to go over the latest trends in city crime. The briefing gives Moore a better idea of where the department is making progress, he said, and where it is losing ground.

After a decade of success in driving down violent crime such as killings and shootings, Moore and the others in the room have seen the progress fade away since last year, with more and more red ink on their printouts. The latest briefing, which Moore allowed The Times to observe, offered no reprieve.

Walking into the room, each commander — including Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala, who oversees operations in the department’s four bureaus; Assistant Chief Robert Marino, who oversees special operations; and Moore’s chief of staff, Deputy Chief Daniel Randolph — received charts breaking down crime by geographic area and over time. They also got statistics on crime the department has deemed gang-related, crime linked to the homeless population and crime linked to domestic violence — three categories that have seen upticks in recent years.

Atop their packets was a four-page “Talking Points” document, the first line of which calculated killings.

“There were 10 homicides this past week vs. 3 for the same week last year,” it read.

At the bottom of the page were statistics on shootings. There had been 1,202 shooting victims this year as of the morning briefing, an increase of nearly 20% over the 1,007 at the same point in 2020 and nearly 50% over the 802 at the same point in 2019.

Click here to read full article from LA Times

Defying Tyranny Chowing Down on a Double-Double

As soon as I heard In-N-Out Burger joints were being shut down by California governments for not checking for COVID vaccine status at the door, I snapped into action. I drove my creaking 2010 Camry to the nearest In-N-Out, on Bristol and MacArthur in Santa Ana, marched inside and ordered a Double-Double, protein style, extra mustard, no tomato. This is Orange County, where we still enjoy a few more freedoms than the rest of the state. 

I looked around to see if Gov. Gavin Newsom was standing in line, maskless, as at his infamous French Pantry escapade a year ago. He wasn’t. I guess my $5 burger wasn’t elitist enough for someone with $350-a-plate tastes.

Nobody checked my vaccination status. Maybe only 20 percent of patrons were wearing masks. I wasn’t. Sometimes you have to just brave the elements.

Once again, we’re being told the Science (capital “S”) mandates the vaccine-checking. It’s the same Science that told us for decades eating Double-Doubles was bad because they were “high fat,” and we were supposed to instead eat “low fat” candy bars loaded with sugar. See Gary Taubes’ books for the history of that Science deception.

An obvious objection to this new mandate is: minimum-wage fast-food workers are not certified health specialists. How are they to know who has a valid vaxx-ID and who doesn’t? And if a 99-pound woman worker confronts a 250-pound unvaxx’d weightlifter, and he insists he’s coming into the restaurant anyway, what’s she supposed to do?

Then there’s the problem of authenticating the IDs. How are these fast-food workers supposed to know if one is valid and another invalid? What about expiration dates? How about counterfeit IDs? Will plainclothes police (real police) also be patrolling these places, arresting not just scofflaws, but workers who make an incorrect guess about a valid/invalid vaxx-ID?

The California DMV, which issues driver’s licenses and IDs for non-drivers, is a perpetual laughingstock for its incompetence.

Then there’s the Unemployment Development Department, which blew as much as $31 billion on fake claims to criminals. It also was another government agency checking IDs. To correct that, it instituted an absurdly complex and hardly working system that stifled true claims by actual people who really were unemployed.

If the California DMV and the EDD can’t get their acts together on driver’s licenses and IDs, how are minimum-wage clerks at a restaurant supposed to do so? 

If government insists on In-N-Out and other restaurants checking for IDs, it ought to provide the proper experts to do so, at taxpayer expense. This also would require months of training for new people. Or current health workers could be reassigned from their current jobs, such as saving people in the ER hauled in with heart attacks, broken bones and gunshot wounds.

Or maybe the government could just take over all restaurants, and all food production and distribution for that matter. Make sure our food is safe! Everyone in the food industry then could be paid high union wages with great perks and pensions. 

Agriculture could be bundled together into something called Collective Farms. Costs could be cut because, instead of wasteful, duplicative competition, the Collective scientifically would apportion supply and demand, eliminating all waste.

Food grown on the Collective Farms efficiently would be transported to the Collective Restaurants, which would be run along the latest hygienic lines, as established by the CDC. 

Only when government efficiently runs everything will we be free of all worries and cares about disease. Only then can we join hands and promote global freedom, democracy, liberty and niceness.

Longtime Orange County Register editorialist John Seiler now also writes for the Epoch Times and blogs at: johnseiler.substack.com